Australia Day Awards 2018

Last modified on 26 January 2018

Zarouhi Manoukian - Citizen of the Year 2018

The Willoughby Citizen of the Year Award has been presented to Zarouhi Manoukian for her outstanding contribution to the Willoughby community. The award recognises community members who live and/or work in Willoughby, and contribute significantly to the betterment of the Willoughby community.

Zarouhi Manoukian has been teaching for more than 55 years, with 42 years in Willoughby and Chatswood. Reaching out to Armenian immigrants and refugees, she has provided a connection to their heritage by fostering a love for their cultural language while assisting them to settle into their new lives.

Zarouhi arrived in Sydney in 1972 and within a couple of years she started teaching at the Tarkmanchatz Armenian Saturday School in Willoughby, helping both refugees escaping from war-torn Lebanon and immigrants from Syria and Egypt. In 1989 she became the school principal and remained in this role for 14 years.

In 1996 Zarouhi began teaching at the Chatswood Saturday Community Language School. From 2002 to 2006 she taught Ancient languages at Macquarie University during Summer and Winter School. She is on the Board of studies curriculum committee, Armenian Literature Committee, and the HSC Board of Studies Assessment committee and contributes to marking, curriculum and setting standards.

The 2018 Cultural and Community Building Award was presented to Brett Backhouse. Brett has been a member of Chatswood Public P&C for 12 years and has been an integral part of raising awareness of overcrowding issues. He is also the Grounds Convenor and has worked hard to incorporate and maintain a green environment at the school.

Brett is also secretary of both the Chatswood Ranger Junior Netball and Soccer teams and a Board member for the Northern Suburbs Football Association, where he has shown great dedication to the operation of this sport club including its coordination, team structuring and ground scheduling.

“Congratulations to Zarouhi and Brett for their incredible contribution to the Willoughby community,” said Willoughby Mayor, Gail Giles-Gidney. “Their strong involvement and commitment to the betterment of the community is inspirational and gives us role models to aspire to,” she said.

The Awards were presented at Willoughby Council’s Australia Day celebrations at The Concourse, Chatswood, which included a citizenship ceremony and address by Australia Day Ambassador, Clyde Campbell.